News / Europe

Anti-NATO Summit Demonstrations Planned For Saturday

Lisa Bryant

As NATO leaders gather outside Lisbon, critics of the Atlantic alliance are staging protests and a counter-summit.

Organized by dozens of peace groups, the NATO counter summit is taking place at a dilapidated high school. It is one of several anti-NATO events going on in Lisbon.  Portuguese security are out in force to ensure protesters don't get out of hand - and there are reports that dozens of anti-NATO demonstrators have been denied entry into the country. The main anti-NATO demonstration is expected to take place on Saturday in downtown Lisbon.

Arielle Denis is co-president of the French peace movement and one of the counter-summit organizers. She believes NATO leaders are wrong to search for military responses to security threats as they draft a 21st century roadmap for the alliance. "There is no military solution to the problems of the world, (and) this NATO summit is a military summit. And NATO is about militarism. Although it wants to put more civilian perspectives in the new missions. Why do we use the armies to do that," she said.

Counter-summit participant Shams Aria is particularly critical when it comes to NATO's strategy in his native Afghanistan -- a key topic during the official summit.  A refugee now living in the Netherlands, Aria believes NATO's military presence in Afghanistan is a mistake.  "The way forward it to leave Afghanistan and to stop interfering in Afghanistan...and let Afghans themselves decide the future," said Aria.

The anti-NATO protests are taking different forms, including so-called "flash mobs" or sudden assemblies of people. There have been reports of flash mobs at Lisbon's Rossio train station. But the scene late Friday afternoon was of tired commuters heading home - and Lisbon native Rui Vega handing out promotional flyers for a gym.

"Toward Afghanistan, it's been sort of a confusion from the beginning. And NATO's presence.  I don't know how to put it,but you know when you have the feeling that we're stepping in where we actually don't belong? That's what I've felt like," said Vega.

While NATO leaders argue the alliance's military role in Afghanistan is vital for securing peace, many Europeans are strongly against a troop presence there.

But Amnesty International Afghan expert Sam Zarifi believes NATO has a role in Afghanistan. "What we hear from the Afghan people even after 10 years (of NATO presence) is that they really need international assistance and they want international assistance. They want that international assistance to be conducted properly but they understand that without international assistance the human rights situation in the country could get significantly worse," he said.

Amnesty is calling on NATO leaders at the summit to do more to protect the human rights of ordinary Afghans as they consider the alliance's future in that country.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid